Rep. Townsend's statement on passage of the House GOP tax plan

Thursday, April 28, 2011

“The people of Michigan sent us here to solve the state’s problems – not win philosophical arguments. Instead, we’ve seen nothing but a parade of legislation pushing a far-right agenda to strip worker rights and balance Michigan’s budget by shifting the burden of paying our bills from corporations to low-income and older Michiganders.

“There’s a double-standard at work here. When they’re calling for massive tax cuts for corporations, the Governor and the majority in this House tell us that taxes matter. We must lower people’s taxes so they’ll behave in ways we want. The Lt. Governor places great importance on where Michigan ranks with respect to business tax climate. Yet, when they’re proposing to strip away the Earned Income Tax Credit, they tell us that taxes don’t affect the behavior of low-income people. We can raise their taxes, plunge tens of thousands into poverty and our communities and welfare rolls won’t be affected. We have one set of principles for those who own corporations and another for the middle class, seniors and the working poor.

“Cutting corporate taxes by $1.7 billion without any evidence that such a move will create good-paying jobs is not a balanced or pragmatic approach to our state’s problems. It’s ideology. It’s a plan that Grover Norquist, who is the acknowledged leader of the Far Right’s shrink-government-no-matter-what crusade in Washington, DC, would heartily endorse. Norquist likes to brag that he wants to shrink government down to the size that would enable him to “drown it in a bathtub.” That may excite the ideologues and wealthy patrons of his cause but we should all remember that he’s talking about drowning our schools, our communities, our families.

“In addition to eliminating the EITC, this bill would impose new taxes on the majority of our seniors’ pensions, for which they have worked hard for all their lives and around which they have planned their retirements.

“This bill also reneges on the Governor’s promise to support our center cities and urban communities. By eliminating the Historic Preservation Tax Credit and the Brownfield Redevelopment Credit, they have taken away proven tools that help our urban centers evolve and thrive. These are proven job creators and revenue enhancers for our local communities and should not be cast aside.

“We need to push the reset button on this tax plan and work with our businesses to simplify our system, reduce compliance costs and create a tax structure that works for our businesses and our people and will stand the test of time – so we are not back here in another year or two changing it all over again.”